Few days back I was searching for some cool software that could connect me to my remote desktop differently and by that I mean different than Microsoft’s classic RDC. Then I came across Logmein.com, that could do the job. All I need is to just download Logmein free streamer that will make my workstation visible as soon as it starts transmitting my IP to logmein. Logmein service enables you to log in to your computer from anywhere. This had solved my connectivity problem as my IP was dynamic.
Soon the disappointment came along. So why am I making a fuss about it so much. There are two types of application that I am talking about. One is graphics rich applications like Games, development software such as Adobe photoshop, 3dsmax, etc. and other one is basic application development like web development, etc. The former requires much faster CPU/GPU and refresh rates while for latter a strong CPU would suffice.
Lets analyze RDC and logmein one by one.
The Dirty truth about RDC
RDC uses a proprietary or the remote desktop protocol which was primarily designed for basic application use across a network. It was not intended for graphical-based applications (i.e. Photoshop, AutoCAD, Adobe) as these applications require extreme refresh rates. With Windows 7 and Vista RDC provides you an option for enabling all the graphics feature of the remote machine; in this case you can see the Aero theme as well. But what is the problem? When RDC connects to the remote machine it downloads the remote machine desktop packets and tries to render on client which is not efficient in all cases. For this RDC assumes that your client configuration is as fast as itself and if you are planning to use a 3D application across network, you wont be; for the same reason, because your client PC is GPU less or can’t run graphics rich applications.
What about Logmein ?
Logmein allows you to utilize the hardware that’s on your remote PC even if your remote machine is on dynamic IP configuration. Pros: you dont have to remember your machine’s IP. Can access even you are in organization VPN, smoother frame rates, in-browser remote desktop viewing, multiple remote machine discovery, enables remote login, graphics optimization at runtime, and many other features. Cons: Most of the features are available for pro version. Yes, you have to pay to avail all the services. Plus the free version wont allow you to properly render full graphics which is the center point of this article.
After a serious search, I finally found a remote desktop application that would fulfill my wishes. Splashtop Inc. offers a set of products that are targeted towards wide range of Remote desktop users and the devices with which they log in. The products are designed to improve the overall user experience across the internet. These products are much faster and more universal than most of its competitors.
With Splashtop, you can now get smooth frame rates, complete graphics rendering, multiple remote machine discovery, remote login, etc. The most catchy feature is you can now see your desktop as you would see it actually. By that I mean the desktop is not at all rendered on client machine. You would get the full access to your remote machine hardware and is at your disposal. All you have to install the Splashtop Streamer to you remote machine and a client software on your client machine. If you are on the same LAN then client software will automatically find it for you.
What happens if you are to access the remote machine from a different network?
Schematic Diagram to connect Splashtop on different networks.
By default Splashtop wont find remote PC’s from different network due to security reasons. With this post I’ll show you how you can!
1. Inside VPN:
- Two or more basic PC’s running Windows 7 and Splashtop Remote Desktop Client (w/o Graphics processing capability).
- Optional iPhone/Android devices running Splashotp Remote Desktop App.
- 100Mbps or more LAN and typical lease line connections.
- Secured and allowed to pass requests to internet.
2. Home Network
- Two or more PC’s and Laptop with GPU rendering capability.
- 3.1 Mbps 3G CDMA Internet connection (Reliance).
- Home N/W secured by 3G WIFI Router model: TP-LINK TL-MR3220 H/W v1.00
- Port forwarding enabled on Ports 6783, 6784, 6785.
- Optional iPhone/Android devices running Splashotp Remote Desktop App.
- Splashtop Streamer for Windows : Download
- Splashtop Remote desktop Client : Download
Configuring your Splashtop Streamer
- Install Splashtop streamer on your Home machine – PC/Laptop.
- Keep running the Streamer on your PC as it will allow the presence on the home network on Port 6783 (By default).
- Optionally, you can set the streamer to redirect all audio to your client machine. If unchecked, Audio would be played on client as well as your remote home PC/Laptop.
- You can optionally block the screen while you’re accessing your home PC. By default the desktop would be available for browsing at remote location as well your home network. So somebody sitting at home network will see your whole actions. This feature is very useful as you can see monitor your child what he’s browsing.
Setup the Splashtop Remote Desktop Client
- Launch the remote desktop client. If you are on the same network, then the client application will populate the PC’s running the Streamer.
- If you are on different network then you might want to manually enter the IP details of the network.
- Remote Desktop client will show the icon in blue if the computer is reachable. To connect click the remote terminal simply click on connect button.
- If you cannot find your terminal, then Add by hitting ‘+’ at the leftmost top. Fill up all the details. Please keep in mind the Password field is not your PC’s password. This is the the streamer password, that is another level of security that streamer provides in addition to the network security.
- Configure your IP as per your network presence.
Configure your Wi-Fi (Home Network)
- For this setup, I’ll use the 3G/3.75G TP-Link TL-MR3220 150Mbps (5DBi Gain Max.) lite high performance router (With appx. range of 140m, no obstruction).
- Before you can connect to your home network, you must allow your Wi-Fi router to forward requests inside using NAT.
- TP-Link web interface is very straight forward. For enabling port forwarding, navigate through ‘Forwarding->Virtual Servers’.
- Enter the Virtual Server Entry something like this: Enter the IP of the computer which you want to connect. This computer must have the Splashtop Streamer installer.
After setting up the router port forwarding setting, your Splashtop Remote Desktop client will be able find the devices inside your home network from your secured VPN or any other network. Hit Connect to connect to your Home network PC. After a successful connection, the Splashtop streamer should show something like this:
The Splashtop will always show full graphics. If you now want to play games, launch it and enjoy!
“Splashtop has recently optimized their Remote Desktop products for users who have an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card in their computer and/or Tegra 2 CPU in their tablet. What this translates to is higher frame rates and lower lag time that will lead to a better experience for all remote desktop usages, especially multimedia. Users will notice that their videos, movies, games, and other graphic-intensive content will be even more lag-free and smoother.”
- You cannot optimize the quality,, so full quality every-time, which may actually drop the frame rate.
- Manual setting required both for Router and Remote Desktop. If your home network has dynamic IP, you have to change the setting every time.
- Configure your Wi-Fi to reserve addresses for home network PCs/Laptops.
- Use Dynamic DNS such as dyndns and no-ip, so that you dont have to remember the external IP of the router.